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Score of the Game
by Kurt Johnstone

From the creators of Project Gotham Racing comes a realistic racing simulator to the Xbox, with over 200 cars to choose from that can be upgraded and tuned to your racing needs. All the tracks experienced throughout the game are based on real ones. Choose a Honda Civic or a Ferrari F355 Challenge and go to Xbox Live to compete against other people.

The graphics are impressive—very realistic and with a solid framrate. Not as spectacular as Gran Turismo 4 but, unlike Gran Turismo on the Playstation 2, the framrate does not suffer in this game. The car models are accurate and offer reflection lighting.

The first thing you need to know before jumping into this game is that this is no Project Gotham Racing or Need For Speed Underground where you can take tight turns at over 100 MPH. This is the closest I have ever seen to the real thing. You will need to slow down before a turn and smoothly corner and then accelerate when out of the turn.

Choose over 200 cars from 50 different car manufacturers such as Honda, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Porshe, Dodge, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Lexus and many more. In order to progress in this game you will need to start the career mode where you race for money. You can do two things with your money. You can either upgrade one of your cars to allow it to compete in a higher class or you can buy a new car. The choice is yours and you’ll probably want to do a bit of both if you want to get anywhere in this game. The classes are ranked in this order from slowest to fastest.

Different cars start in different classes and can be upgraded to a higher class by adding engine enhancements such as turbo chargers, weight reductions, performance exhausts, and so on. On Xbox Live you can play the career mode also, where you choose a class and race against real people. The higher you place in a live match the more money you make. Other modes available are Buy and Sell (online), Team Racing(online), Arcade Race,Time Trials and Free Run.

The sound in the game is realistic. Car models sound similar to what they would in real life, and cars can sound different depending on what you do to them such as a turbo charger upgrade, you will hear the car spool and a super charger upgrade that just makes a car sound mean. You can even listen to your own custom soundtracks during gameplay.

This is, in my opinion, the best racing game I have ever played. There is a huge variety of modes and a lot of freedom to mess around with your cars, you can even apply body kits, but the selection is limited with most cars. Racing online and testing out your car—that you just spent two hours tuning and upgrading—against the competition is very satisfying and fun. Playing offline against computer controlled opponents is frustrating because they are aggressively cheap racers. They will knock you off the road and slam into you from behind more than enough times. The graphics are great but not perfect. The sense of speed is good but not entirely accurate making 200 mph feeling slower than it really is. Just a few unwanted problems shouldn’t hurt the overall appeal that this game will have. An amazing title.

Overall… 97%

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